Critique of DEA Interpretation of the CSA

1 min read

Cicero makes it very clear that testing only addresses the issue of abuse potential.

“Whether the severity of the abuse is a problem or not depends upon the extent to which self-administration of the drug represents a problem to the individual or society. A good example is caffeine. While most recent studies indicate that caffeine has abuse potential, as defined by the criteria outlined above, it seems unrealistic and irrational to assume therefore that it is equal to other drugs of abuse in terms of its effects on the individual or society. Ultimately, relative abuse potential and its severity must be considered in terms of the criteria outlined above.”(28)

The Controlled Substances Act allows for realistic assessment of the practical application of its regulatory provisions. This will be discussed in more detail in section 5 of the petition. The key question is how are the provisions of the CSA applied? According to Cicero, the DEA application of the CSA is too “rigid.”

“The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) takes a much more restrictive view of drugs of abuse or potential dependence liability: drug abuse is defined as the use of any illicit drug, regardless of its consequences or frequency of use. While this definition is simple and makes enforcement relatively easy by allowing the scheduling of compounds under the Controlled Substances Act, it is far too broad and lacks scientific validity. Many compounds are illegal in the United States, but clearly the consequences of their use poses no serious threat to society or the individual. Hence, this rigid definition does not allow for discriminating truly dangerous from non-dangerous drugs and, most importantly, there is little room for accommodating scientific evidence regarding relative abuse liability. However, there seems to be sufficient latitude under the current law to schedule compounds according to classes which appear to represent the largest threat to the public health. In these instances, scientific input concerning the dependence liability of drugs is desperately needed and must be incorporated into scheduling decisions.”(29)

This petition seeks to utilize the “latitude under current law” to restore scientific validity to marijuana’s scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act.